A federal judge thinks some businessmen were having a cow over "The Simpsons."

U.S. District Judge Earl Carroll ruled against a Mesa mall that had sued a production company over the failure of characters from the Fox program to make a promotional appearance.People dressed as Homer and Marge Simpson, and their children, Bart, Lisa and Maggie, failed to appear at a scheduled outing last summer after their outfits were lost in shipping.

The Tri-City Mall Merchants Association sued Willy Bietak Productions of Los Angeles, alleging breach of contract and seeking at least $200,000.

Mark Bregman, a lawyer for Bietak, said at a hearing Monday that the contract allowed the production company to avoid responsibility for a no-show if something happened beyond its control.

"The packages weren't delivered," Bregman said. "They got six packages instead of eight. The mall was aware that the show couldn't go on without all the pieces."